The gaining popularity of spas, the benefits of attractive pay packages and an opportunity to explore different horizons and grow professionally have been driving today’s youth in India to join the spa industry. Responding to this trend, a large number of spa institutes are mushrooming across the country and offering highly specialised training courses By Rituparna Chatterjee
According to the Global Wellness Summit, at the recent GSWS in Marrakech, Morocco, a research sizing and analysing the 10 sectors that comprise the wellness industry, unveiled that the wellness industry stands at a staggering US$ 3.4 trillion market and is one of the biggest, fastest-growing industries on earth. It is 3.4 times bigger than the US$ one trillion, global pharmaceutical industry. The report further stated that the spa industry jumped from US$ 60 to US$ 94 billion from 2007-2013, despite brutal recession. At a micro level, India is not far behind from becoming the fifth largest consumer market globally as claimed by Horwath HTL Health and Wellness, a division of Horwath HTL, specialising in the development of destination retreats, lifestyle and wellness centres, bathhouses, resorts, hotels, medical and day spas, and health and fitness clubs globally. Cashing on this growing consumer demand and their increasing purchasing power, many health and rejuvenation resorts and spas, offering Indian traditional Ayurvedic and western treatments, are mushrooming all over the country. This trend in turn is driving the requirement for professionally qualified staff.
Interestingly, there isn’t a shortage of trained manpower in this field with an increasing number of youth venturing into this industry. “As spa is one of the fastest growing industries, it provides a bigger and better platform for the youth at both national and international levels. We see a good percentage of young entrepreneurs venturing into this industry. With wide acceptance and awareness of the spa, many opportunities are available,” avers Dr Sagar Mahajan, head of administration and faculty, Ananda Spa Institute. Voicing a similar thought, Suvidha Nanodkar, spa manager, Zaara Spa, Resort Rio Goa, states, “Today’s youth are more inclined towards exploring career options in this sector. I would attribute this to a couple of factors. Firstly, with the gaining popularity of spas there is more awareness about the various offerings and benefits of pursuing a career in this field. Secondly, there are many institutes offering specialised courses and this emerging industry offers benefits of attractive pay packages, stress – free work environment and an opportunity to explore different horizons and grow professionally.”
Over the years, India has seen the mushrooming of numerous spa therapist training institutes including the Ananda Spa Institute, Shahnaz Husain Chain of Institutes, Science and Arts Academy of Hair & Beauty Culture, VLCC Institute to name a few. At Ananda Spa Institute, training is provided in spa therapies, aesthetics and body therapies, Ayurveda therapies and spa management. Graduates with the institute’s CIBTAC certification in international spa therapy courses or certified Ayurvedic diploma can work across spas globally with an in-depth knowledge of all the technical and management aspects of spa therapy. “The institute was ranked the ‘Best Spa Academy’ in the Asia Pacific Region at The Crystal Awards Asia Pacific in 2010, and ‘Spa Academy of the Year’ at The Crystal Awards Asia Pacific in 2011,” mentions Dr Mahajan proudly adding that his institute has had a 100 per cent placement record till date.
The spa sector is no longer just a segment of the beauty and wellness industry. It has evolved to become a mini hospitality industry with a focus on complete wellness and offers a plethora of career options. Therapists, spa managers, consultants, beauty experts, dieticians, wellness coaches are some of the demanding career options. The remuneration package varies on several factors like role, experience and qualification. The package averages between Rs five lakh to 10 lakh in India and can go up to Rs 20 lakh at international spas. “At Resort Rio, Goa our focus is to offer guests a complete healing experience – mind, body and soul. We have trained therapists, masseuse, Ayurveda (BAMS) doctors, acupuncturist, reiki healer, astrologer, wing chun master to name a few. We have hired experts across varied fields,” opines Nanodkar, adding that, the resort post recruitment conducts regular in-house training programmes for the staff to hone their skills. Its training includes organising mock sessions, updating on the latest techniques and therapies, sharing feedback from guests, holding practice sessions and so on. The picture is similar at The Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa which emphasis a lot on in-house training and evaluation since it offers unique spa treatments and customised product lines. “By creating processes and training every spa employee, we create the best business practices. These practices will not only make our staff better at doing their jobs but will also help us to streamline our business growth and maintain market leadership,” explains Dr Mahesh Mathew, spa manager, The Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa.
The Indian spa industry is growing fast but is taken more as a luxury rather than as wellness awareness whereas the western spa industry is well evolved and considered as a luxury with its wellness benefits. However, this picture will soon change in future believes Dr Mahajan. “Medical aesthetics and medi spa, lifestyle correction in chronic conditions, organic product usage, corporate wellness are some of the future trends to drive this industry,” states Dr Mahajan. Sharing her views, Nanodkar points out, “I think we can expect an all new customer segment going forward. People above 40 years are likely to seek solace in spa and wellness centres and demand solutions tailored to meet their specific requirements. I also see Internet becoming increasingly relevant as a channel of interaction with consumers.”
Adding to this, Dr Mathew predicts, “The future of this industry looks like more of fusion spas offering unique massages and therapies infused with the ancient healing techniques of Ayurveda.”